Sunday, July 12, 2015

FFBC Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: Don't Ever Change (M. Beth Bloom)

Don't Ever Change
by M. Beth Bloom
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 7th 2015

Eva has always wanted to write a modern classic—one that actually appeals to her generation. The only problem is that she has realized she can't "write what she knows" because she hasn't yet begun to live. So before heading off to college, Eva is determined to get a life worth writing about.
Soon Eva's life encounters a few unexpected plot twists. She becomes a counselor at a nearby summer camp—a job she is completely unqualified for. She starts growing apart from her best friends before they've even left for school. And most surprising of all, she begins to fall for the last guy she would have ever imagined. But no matter the roadblocks, or writer's blocks, it is all up to Eva to figure out how she wants this chapter in her story to end.Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell,Don't Ever Change is a witty, snarky, and thought-provoking coming-of-age young adult novel about a teen who sets out to write better fiction and, ultimately, discovers the truth about herself.

1.       What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I wanted to detail my journey as a young writer and brat.  Like Eva, I too worked as a camp counselor, doing a terrible job at everything but joking around with the girls.  I couldn’t even take care of myself, and yet there I was leading a bunch of kids who looked up to me and thought I was just the coolest.  Really, I was a mess.  And I hated fun.
2.       Who is your favorite character in the book?
It’s a hard question to answer since Eva, Alison, and Courtney are all versions of myself, I can’t really choose one of them, ha.  I do love Foster.  He’s so earnest and reminds me of a few of my fellow writing majors at Emerson.  The ones that already believed in themselves and weren’t guided by angst or false pretension.  And Foster’s a feminist; he likes Eva for her will, her intelligence, her spirit, her complexity, and her talent.  Good dude.
3.       Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel.  In fact, forever I was calling this collection of stories, The Sour Kraut, as it was initially about Eva’s desire to move to Berlin after grarduating from college.  Ian Svenonious wrote an amazing book called The Psychic Soviet, and I wanted to reference that somehow with a nod to my German ancestry.  Next I hoped to call the book, Classic, because I thought of it as Eva’s attempt to write herself as Holden Caulfield or Huck Finn or Gene from A Separate Peace.  This idea of reconstructing the Coming-Of-Age cannon around a complicated female narractor.  But HarperTeen eventually helped me settle with Don’t Ever Change, and I think it totally suits the story.
4.       What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I really love the chapters/scenes where Eva comes across as truly naive.  The day she interviews for her counselor job, she’s at her most specific and self-absorbed.  That’s a moment when I hope I nailed Eva’s personality.  It’s an out-loud sigh of, “Oh, Eva,” where the reader really feels they know the character’s complexities/mess-ups/baggage/quirks.
5.       Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Laugh at your own writing, see comedy in tragedy, weirdness in it all, and try to forget the likable narrator.  She’s not us.  
6.       What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I really wanted a pie chart, something drawn and handmade, not photo-representational as most YA novel jackets usually are.  I didn’t like the idea of “casting” an Eva.  I feel the book is funny so a humorous cover was necessary.  Wendy MacNaughton is a rad artist and I’m so fortunate that my amazing editor Tara Weikum was open-minded to such a cool, esoteric design.
7.       What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2015?
Easily Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee.  Also Terry Gilliam’s memoir and the Patti Smith book, M Train.
8.       What was your favorite book in 2014?
Can’t And Won’t, by Lydia Davis and Bark, by Lorrie Moore.
9.       What’s up next for you?
Directing my first feature film, based off a script a wrote, called LADYWORLD.
10.   Is there anything that you would like to add?
Just a plea to keep buying books, actual tactile paper.  I know about the carbon footprint and the trash and the needlessness of certain objects, BUT it’s a beautiful tradition to flip a page.

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Follow the Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

M. Beth Bloom is a novelist and a screenwriter. Her fiction has appeared in StoryQuarterly and Dave Eggers's Best American Nonrequired Reading series. She is also the author of Drain You. M. Beth lives in Los Angeles.


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